Men’s soccer kicks off strongly

The Men’s Soccer team has had a mix of wins and losses so far this season. They won their first four games, lost the next three, and then won last Saturday at Hood College.

Coach Alun Oliver was happy with the wins at the beginning of the season, saying, “It was really important to get a good start, we haven’t had a good start for a few years now, so that has been a team goal since the start of the season. We did really well at our first two tournaments, and we actually won both.”

The team’s first loss, 2-1, was against John’s Hopkins. When reviewing the game, Oliver had a mixed opinion, saying, “To be honest we had a chance to tie it up and we really should have, but they were a good team. They are always regionally or nationally ranked so the fact that we competed against them was a great step for us.”

Even though they lost the next two games, 1-3 against Frostburg and 0-1 against Richard Stockton, the team took a turn in the right direction, defeating Hood 1-0 on Sept. 24. Before the game, Oliver commented saying, “Hood is going to be another tough one. It’s another conference game and they’ve had great start to the season also. As long as we take care of the details, we should perform well and come out with a victory.”

The team also played on Hood’s field, which was a turf surface. This could have been problematic for the SMCM team, which is more used to the Bermuda field on campus. However, Coach Oliver said, “That’s no excuse, its just something we’ll have to get used to. A lot of teams have turf now so its just something we’ll have to deal with, hopefully we can deal with it sooner rather than later.”

The coach was happy with how the team transitioned from last year to this year, saying, “The majority of the freshman have stepped up, at least four or five are playing on a regular basis, which is huge for us. They’ve adapted themselves pretty well to the college game,” he said. “As freshmen, it’s tough for them to adapt straight away but they’ve done a great job. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors have welcomed them with open arms. We’ve built ourselves a good team spirit, which is half the battle of coaching really.”

For Hawktoberfest, the team plans on honoring past athletes. “We want to get as many past alums to come back. It’s the 40th anniversary of Soccer at St. Mary’s, whoever does show up, we are going to try to honor them at halftime in our game against Stevenson, and have them walk out on the field,” said Oliver. The game will be at home on October 1.

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